Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies

Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies is an academic department, unique in North America, in which Jewish studies, Islamic studies, and Middle Eastern studies are integrated. It is an interdisciplinary department that motivates students to explore the historical experience; the literary, religious, and cultural expression; and the political and material life of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern civilizations. Whether students favor the study of language, literature, religion, history, or politics, they will find a way to deepen their appreciation and understanding of these complex and diverse societies and cultures in our courses. Students will also be inspired to explore the interaction of Jews and Muslims with neighboring societies and cultures in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and other parts of the world.

Students completing our majors and minors have gone on to do many things after graduation. Many have entered professional schools in such fields as law, government, journalism, international affairs, education, the rabbinate or ministry, and communal or social work. Others have gone on to do graduate work in either Jewish, Islamic, or Middle Eastern studies or related disciplines. Still others have combined their interest in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies with careers in business, medicine, or scientific research. All have found the major to be an intellectually and emotionally rewarding experience and an important component of their overall development.

The goals of the department are as follows:

  1. Convey an appreciation for the complexities, depth, diversity, and cultural richness of Jewish and Islamic civilizations in their historical context, from antiquity to the present.
  2. Explore the interaction of Jewish, Islamic, and other Middle Eastern societies and cultures with neighboring peoples both within and outside the Middle East.
  3. Encourage the mastery of the primary languages and literatures in which Jews and Muslims have expressed their cultures.
  4. Prepare students for graduate or professional studies in these or related fields.

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